IceHogs Hold Onto Playoff Spot With Weekend Wins


The Rockford IceHogs used a four-goal comeback and a three-goal third period in separate games this weekend to come away with back-to-back wins and keep hold of fourth-place in the AHL Central Division Standings. A 5-4 shootout victory over the Iowa Wild and a 5-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage have the IceHogs in the final Calder Cup Playoff spot in the Central with 22 games remaining this season.

IceHogs Hold Position In Calder Cup Playoff Push

The Rockford IceHogs are doing it again. Making a push in the final two and a half months to make the Calder Cup Playoffs was the path to success last season for the IceHogs on their way to the Western Conference Finals, and this season they are looking to repeat that same path.

A hot run from Collin Delia in net, a consistent power-play threat, and a trio of point-producers in Cody Franson, Chris DiDomenico, and Adam Clendening propelled the 2017-18 IceHogs into the postseason and this season may have a number of players ready to fill similar roles.

Rockford was able to overcome a 4-0 deficit on Saturday against the Iowa Wild and come out on top in a 5-4 shootout win. Multi-point nights coming from Jordan Schroeder (2G), Henri Jokiharju (2A), Jacob Nilsson (2A), and Luke Johnson (G, A) led the way for the IceHogs behind a 33-save effort from Kevin Lankinen. The shootout winner was provided by Victor Ejdsell, who also had an assist in the game.

Rockford IceHogs Kevin Lankinen

Rockford IceHogs goaltender Kevin Lankinen makes a save. (Courtesy: Rockford IceHogs)

Following Saturday night’s come from behind win, the IceHogs again turned to Lankinen in net and again he was able to deliver a goaltending performance good enough to get the IceHogs another win. With multi-point night’s from Jordan Schroeder (G, A), Andrew Campbell (2A), Luke Johnson (G, A), and William Pelletier (G, A) the IceHogs took a 5-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage and took hold of fourth-place in the AHL Central Division with 58 points.

Rockford has tallied at least one power-play goal in five of their last six games and have six power-play goals over that six-game span.

Rockford came out of the weekend with a two-point edge over the Milwaukee Admirals in fifth-place and trailing the Chicago Wolves by four points for third-place. A total of ten points separate the second-place Iowa Wild (63) from the tied for last place Manitoba Moose and San Antonio Rampage (53) in the Central Division.

With his pair of wins over the weekend, Kevin Lankinen improved his record to 7-6-3 on the season, with a 2.47 GAA and a 0.911 save-percentage. Lankinen has won five of his last six starts for the IceHogs. He ranks ninth in the AHL in GAA of goalies to play at least 15 games this season, and the IceHogs’ team save-percentage of 0.917 is the highest in the Central Division.

Jokiharju, Schroeder Powering IceHogs Offense

Rockford holds a 6-2-0 record so far in the month of February, coming out of a 4-6-1 month of January. Over the last 19 games since the calendar turned to 2019, leading the IceHogs in scoring is Jordan Schroeder with 14 points in that span. Just in the month of February, Schroeder leads the IceHogs with nine points in eight games. Leading Rockford in scoring with 33 points in 45 games this season, Schroeder has been a consistent offensive producer on a team that has lacked in goal-scoring for most of the season.

The IceHogs are tied with the Manitoba Moose for the fewest goals scored this season (133) but the gap between the IceHogs inept offensive numbers has closed over the last few weeks. Giving the teams goaltenders a chance is key for Rockford this season as the team holds a 22-2-2 record this season when scoring at least three goals as opposed to a 3-19-6 record in games scoring two or fewer goals.

Rockford IceHogs Jordan Schroeder

Rockford IceHogs forward Jordan Schroeder takes a shot against the Iowa Wild. (Courtesy: Rockford IceHogs)

Helping Schroeder with the offensive load since his assignment to the IceHogs is defenseman Henri Jokiharju. The rookie has been a consistent offensive threat since joining the IceHogs at the beginning of February. In eight games this season, Jokiharju has seven points, including five points over his last three games. Jokiharju’s 0.88 points per game pace is currently the highest on the team among active players, leading Schroeder (0.73) and Luke Johnson (0.67).

Rockford IceHogs Henri Jokiharju

Rockford IceHogs defenseman Henri Jokiharju (Courtesy: Rockford IceHogs)

Also among the leaders for the IceHogs offensively continue to be Jacob Nilsson (seven points in last five games) and Luke Johnson (seven points in last seven games) who both are coming into their own as the season moves into the latter-half of the schedule.

While keeping pucks out of the net has not been an issue for the IceHogs this season, ranking a respectable tenth in fewest goals allowed (150), Rockford is going to need to call upon their early season leaders to get back to their forms of the first few weeks of the season.

A player like Anthony Louis (one point in last eight games) still ranks among the top five of the team in scoring, but has seen his scoring pace fall off in the last few weeks. If Louis can find his touch again and the rest of the roster continues to chip in, the IceHogs will continue to push Milwaukee, Chicago, and the rest of the Central Division as the Calder Cup Playoffs loom around the corner.

What’s Next?

The Rockford IceHogs are back in action on Wednesday as they take on the Grand Rapids Griffins. The first of three road games in-a-row for the IceHogs after a 6-game homestand, the IceHogs hold a 3-3-0 record against the Griffins this season. Puck drop for Wednesday night’s contest is set for 6pm CT at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.

Center Ice Forums IceHogs Hold Onto Playoff Spot With Weekend Wins

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